As part of their work to qualify the CST-100 spacecraft for NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, the Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne Launch Abort System (LAS) rocket engine has been successfully hot fired. The 40,000 pound thrust class engine achieved full thrust during the test. Boeing’s design includes four of the engines mounted below the crew capsule in a pusher configuration, as seen in the animation contained in the video. Unlike SpaceX’s design, where they intend to embed their SuperDraco engines into the capsule where they will be recovered and reused, in the CST-100 the LAS is part of the service module and they’re discarded to burn up on reentry.
Thing’s are shaping up to be a competition, with the SpaceX Dragon and Boeing CST-100 capsules, and the Sierra Nevada Corporation Dream Chaser lifting body space plane. And, of course, NASA’s own Orion capsule for trips beyond low-earth orbit – though Dragon is also intended to eventually venture beyond LEO.